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Sethe’s daughter Denver is the most dynamic character in the novel. She is shy, intelligent, introspective, Sensitive, and inclined to spend hours alone in her “emerald closet,” a sylvan space formed by boxwood bushes. Her mother considers Denver a “charmed” child who has miraculously survived, and throughout the book Denver is in close contact with the supernatural. 

Sethe is whipped severely, despite the fact that she is pregnant. Swollen and scarred, Sethe nevertheless runs away, but along the way she collapses from exhaustion in a forest. A white girl, Amy Denver, finds her and nurses her back to health. When Amy later helps Sethe deliver her baby in a boat, Sethe names this second daughter Denver after the girl who helped her. 

Denver is fascinated with the spirit of her dead sister Beloved. She is the character most sensitive to Beloved and her true identity. She drank her sister’e blood along with Sethe’s milk. As a child, as lonely and rebuked as she claims that the ghost plays with her and her deafness is broken by the sound of the baby girl trying to crawl up the steps. She needs Beloved in the same way that Beloved needs Sethe. We witness her dissolution when Beloved disappears in the cold house. She feels that she has lost herself. She only takes responsibility for her own life at the instigation of Nelson Lord. She benefits the most from Beloved’s presence, though indirectly. At first she feels an intense dependence on Beloved, convinced that in Beloved’s absence she has no “self” of her own. Later, however, Beloved’s increasingly malevolent, temperamental, self-centered actions alert Denver to the dangers of the past Beloved represents. Ultimately, Beloved’s tyranny over Sethe forces Denver to leave 124 and seek help in the community. Denver's exile from 124 marks the beginning of her social integration and of her search for independence and self-possession. 

Despite Denver's abilities to cope, she has been stunted emotionally by years of relative isolation. Though eighteen years old, she acts much younger, maintaining an intense fear of the world outside 124 and a perilously fragile sense of self. Indeed, her self conception remains so tentative that she feels slighted by the idea of a world that does not include her. When she feels that she is being excluded from her family’s attention, for example, when her mother devotes her energies to Paul D, Denver feels threatened and angry. Correspondingly, she treats Paul D coldly much of the time. 

In the face of Beloved’s escalating malevolence and her mother’s submissiveness, Denver is forced to step outside the world of 124. Filled with a sense of duty, purpose, and courage, she enlists the help of the community and cares for her increasingly self-involved mother and sister. She enters a series of lessons with Miss Bodwin and considers attending Oberlin College someday. Her last conversation with Paul D underscores her newfound maturity. She presents herself with more civility and sincerity than in the past and asserts that she now has her own opinions.


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